yellow smile

Recently lost a notebook - again! - though, fortunately enough, this one contained very little and was not a Principal Notebook, just a scratch pad of sorts. As some sort of weird penance for my absentmindedness, thought maybe should keep promise to self to occasionally drop some older scribbles here.

One of those nights when the darkness comes to hover low, slow and sweet as an addict's next last draw. Nowhere to go - the lights of tattoo shops bright-white stablike, customers slabbed like patients etherized upon tables, drunkards stumbling through streets, talking to their own universe, their invisible gods. One of those New York nights when the city is a swelling hologram of an ocean, overwhelming and untouchable; a slurred feast of life where I am an uninvited guest, an unnoticed gatecrasher.

Late hours of a winter Wednesday night, the lower east side still breathes its fumes of tobacco and cheap liquor through uneven yellow teeth, mumbling minute myths from beneath a tightly drawn black hood. Music spurts from the doors of bars like streams of brown juice onto the sidewalk; the doors belch forth the sated staggering and yawn wider to admit the thirsty determined. The girls are Sunday morning's carnations, broken-stemmed and limp-edged, a few more petals lost to "he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not." The boys swagger, loud and thick in winter coats; they've grown teeth on their fingers and eyes on their knuckles and they inflate with every emptied glass.

This is the feast and none of us have been invited to the king's table, so we snatch and snatch and grab and pinch and filch and scrabble. Every mouse will find his crumb, but why settle for only one crumb when you can cram in two, three, more, more, more. Bigger, better, more - what if the one behind you gets to carry away what you dropped?

They spill into the streets like fruit fallen off the cart, rolling bright, bouncing brown into the gutter, spilling sticky everywhere. Bugger the cold - the skirts are short, the sleeves rolled up, jackets gaping like a leer. Get it, get it, get it all before you are too old, before it catches up with you, before you no longer look good in those jeans, before you can no longer tell yourself they look good on you.

We spill like wine spills on a tablecloth, greedily eating up the white. We drink to find courage enough to do something memorable and then, we drink the memories away. The streets are full of tomorrow's vomiting headaches. The bars are crammed with tomorrow's regrets. And underneath, the trains grind along almost unwillingly, shaking exhausted homeward.

The Big Apple. No matter how soft and rotten parts of it can get, it's big enough that you'll always find a shiny chunk worth sinking your teeth into. No recession, no depression, no crime rate, no filth, nothing short of total nuclear annihilation will turn New York into anything other than what it is - a mecca, a temple, a thief's wide-eyed promise. It hums a ditty out of one corner of its cracked, painted mouth and spits bones out the other. It cracks its knuckles and polishes its fingernails. It snaps on a garter belt and slips out its dentures. It keeps one hand in your pants and the other in your pocket. It whispers red words of love and serves you with a printed invoice afterward.

This is New York; a syphilitic whore who will fuck you for free and charge you extra for the penicillin afterward. And you'll pay - you'll pay because you want to survive till the next go. You'll pay for the privilege of believing in that next go, the mere possibility of another crumb being flung.



  1. I love this.

  2. nice blog .. i like what you have written.. really nice writing skills. you have in you..



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